Obituary of John M. Lira Jr.
In loving memory of John M Lira Jr, who embarked on his final and everlasting fishing trip down the river on Saturday, November 4th, 2023.
John, born on July 4, 1936, in Madeira, Portugal, was the second son of John and Amelia Lira. After the family settled in Rio Vista, CA, he grew up contributing to the family dairy business. During his youth, he was President of the Levee Lopers car club in town, fostering his love for street and drag strip racing at Kingdon Drag Strip.
A young adventurer, John joined the army and served as a paratrooper in the Korean War. Thankfully returning home, he pursued education at Humphreys College, where he met and married June Nipkau. Their union blessed them with three daughters.
John was a true entrepreneur, dedicating his life to various industries, including dairy, grape farming, landscaping materials, trucking, and even catering. John's deep passion for farming motivated him to actively participate in the agricultural strike during the 1970s. Alongside fellow area farmers, he took part in a notable protest, driving their tractors 40 miles from Lodi to the State Capitol.
John also made it a priority to guide his three daughters, constantly seeking opportunities to ignite their entrepreneurial spirit. One memorable venture involved selling firewood and coal near Lodi Lake, on the same lot as a burger stand. While the majority of the profits earned from selling coal and wood found their way to the burger stand next door, the entrepreneurial flame continued to burn bright in his daughter, Elizabeth.
John was always on the go doing his best to live life to the fullest. He found joy in fishing along rivers and streams, playing pool, practicing Tai Chi at the senior center, and hanging out at the VFW with a glass of wine (ice cube included). His Korean War Veteran hats he wore often led to heartwarming encounters with strangers, who, moved by his service, would occasionally pay for his meal. To all those who took the time to acknowledge his service to our country or extend kindness, we express our deepest gratitude.
John is survived by daughters Elizabeth Klemm (Terry), Gina Wylie (Jim), and Angie Palmer (John), and three grandchildren Chloe, Jocelyn, and Brendon. John’s siblings include Manuel, Alice, Jim, Louie, George and is preceded in death by Harry.
The graveside service to honor John Lira Jr is scheduled for Friday, December 29th, at 2:30 pm at Lodi Memorial Park and Cemetery, located at 5750 E Pine St., Lodi, CA 95240. The service will take place at the Mausoleum to the East of the main office.
Following the service, there will be an after-service gathering just one block away at Big Belly Deli, situated at 1371 East Pine St. #12, Lodi, CA.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in remembrance of John to either Hospice of San Joaquin or the Veterans of Foreign Wars.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Lira Jr., please visit Tribute Store